Somers Artist Exhibits at Ruth Keeler Gallery

Dorothy Byers Lorenze, a 35-year resident of Somers, has been drawing all of her life.  “It’s almost like a religion,” she said. “It’s a poetic experience. Figure and life drawing keep your eyes sharp. It’s all about nuance because we’re all made of the same body parts.”

After years as a freelance graphic artist, she cut back to two regular clients and took up oil painting. That was three years ago.

“My Aunt Helen was a great watercolorist. She started when her kids gave her a set of watercolors for her 60th birthday. So I figured it’s not too late for me,” Lorenze said.

Every once in a while she drives down to Georgia to visit her 89-year-old mom. Along the way, she stops at antique shops to scout around for subjects she would like to paint. “I find the objects themselves have so much history. They have a nostalgic quality. Sometimes I find a familiar object. It’s reminiscent but I can’t quite place it,” she said.

Lorenze found some unglazed vases not long ago that dated back to the 1920s or 30s. Both her mother and grandmother had pieces like that, so she brought them home. “Every time I look up from the dining room table and see those vases, I want to paint them."

“With still-lifes you create an interesting grouping and you think, ‘these things have a feeling’ -- warmth, nostalgia or elegance, for instance. I especially love paintings with reflections, silver and glass,” she said.

Lorenze’s website is studded with quotations from and about artists, but she chose not to include her favorite quote, from American painter, William Merritt Chase. “It takes two to paint. One to paint, the other to stand by with an axe to kill him before he spoils it.”

The oil paintings of Dorothy Byers Lorenze will be on display at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library, 276 Titicus Road, North Salem, until the end of October. Many of them are for sale, with prices ranging from $100 to $350.

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